Mozambique LNG Terminal

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Mozambique LNG Terminal is a partially under-construction LNG terminal in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique. The project has been put on hold indefinitely due to violence in the region.[1] The project status is considered proposed, as the sponsors continue to work to restart development.[2]


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Project Details

Project Details, Trains 1 & 2

  • Owner: TotalEnergies (26.5%), Mitsui Group (20%), ENH (15%), ONGC (10%), Bharat PetroResources (10%), PTTEP (8.5%), and Oil India (10%)[3]
  • Parent: TotalEnergies, Mitsui Group, ENH, ONGC, Bharat Petroleum, PTTEP, and Oil India[3]
  • Location: Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique
  • Coordinates: -10.807908, 40.796899 (approximate)
  • Type: Export[3]
  • Trains: 2[3]
  • Capacity: 12.9 mtpa (6.45 mtpa per train)[4]
  • Status: Proposed[2] (construction has begun and been put on hold)
    • Formerly Shelved[1]
  • FID Status: FID
  • Start Year: 2027[5]
    • Formerly 2025[6]
  • Financing: US$14.9 billion in loans from the African Development Bank, eight export credit agencies and 19 commercial banks,[7] and an additional US$400 million in guarantees and direct lending from the African Export-Import Bank[8]

Project Details, Trains 3 & 4

  • Owner: TotalEnergies (26.5%), Mitsui Group (20%), ENH (15%), ONGC (10%), Bharat PetroResources (10%), PTTEP (8.5%), and Oil India (10%)[3]
  • Parent: TotalEnergies, Mitsui Group, ENH, ONGC, Bharat Petroleum, PTTEP, and Oil India[3]
  • Location: Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique
  • Coordinates: -10.807908, 40.796899 (approximate)
  • Type: Export[3]
  • Trains: 2[3]
  • Capacity: 10 mtpa (5 mtpa per train)[9]
  • Status: Proposed[2]
  • FID Status: Pre-FID
  • Start Year: 2025[6] (presumed delayed)


Mozambique LNG Terminal is a proposed onshore LNG terminal in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique. The project was initially two separate projects, Anadarko's Mozambique LNG Terminal and Eni's Mozambique LNG Terminal, which were combined into one. It will be comprised of four trains each with 5 million tons per annum, with a possible expansion to ten trains each with 5 million tons per annum.[10]

The discovery of large offshore gas reserves in East Africa prompted multiple liquefaction proposals in Mozambique. The International Gas Union reported that these Mozambique proposed projects amount to 53.4 MTPA.[11]

According to the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers' 2020 Annual Report and the International Gas Union's 2020 Report, there are two trains under construction with a plan to add two more trains at a later date.[3][4]

In its 2020 financial results, Total disclosed that the project was 21% complete by the end of the year.[12]

Due to the extreme security situation following Islamic State-linked insurgent attacks in March 2021 in the town of Palma close to the project site, Total declared force majeure on the project on April 26, 2021, a legal move which allows the company to suspend activities with contractors as the project's construction is also suspended.[13] At the end of April, Total's Chief Financial Officer, Jean-Pierre Sbraire, confirmed that the project will be delayed by "at least a year", with production of the first LNG from the project pushed back until at least 2025.[6]

In August 2021, Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) which is providing a US$400 million loan to the project, suggested that construction work may resume within 18 months. His comments came after the Mozambican army, with assistance from Rwandan security forces, had begun retaking ground held by insurgent forces in Cabo Delgado. TotalEnergies declined to comment on the AfDB head's remarks.[14] In September 2021, TotalEnergies appointed a new country manager for Mozambique, Maxime Rabilloud, who is tasked with advancing the LNG project.[15]

In February 2022, TotalEnergies said that it would seek to restart the project in 2022.[16] Later that month TotalEnergies' CEO suggested that the restart of the project could take another year.[17]

In February 2022, Reuters reported that Total intended to restart construction on the terminal in 2022.[18]

In April 2023, TotalEnergies discussed the conditions it would need to have in place in order to restart construction.[19]

In May 2023, Global Energy Monitor's Inside Gas reported, "TotalEnergies’ ambitions to bring its stalled US$20 billion Cabo Delgado liquefaction plant online by 2027 remain up in the air following the publication of a report, commissioned by the company, on humanitarian and socio-economic issues. The 76-page report from Jean-Christophe Ruffin, a former French ambassador to Senegal, was delivered to TotalEnergies last month and released only this week in the run-up to its annual meeting on May 26. Ruffin’s report was broadly positive about the French company’s hoped-for resumption of construction activities after it declared force majeure in April 2021 but raised various concerns, including the Mozambique LNG consortium’s approach to compensation for resettled communities, its relationship with local armed forces, and the fact that armed conflict is not over in the region though not currently happening in the immediate vicinity of the project site. For TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne, renowned for being extremely cost-sensitive, an additional hurdle continues to be the reported efforts of the project’s already contracted service companies to secure an upward revaluation of their costs by as much as 20%. Further, the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Exim) has commented that a restart of the project would trigger a review of its US$4.7 billion loan agreement with the consortium. Signed off by Exim’s board in 2020 during the Trump presidency, no loan disbursements have been made to date, according to a senior Exim official."[20]

In June 2023, Bloomberg reported that Total was slowly restarting the project, including by reinforcing security, but that it had not yet laid out an updated project timeline.[21]

As of November 2023, African Intelligence reported that TotalEnergies was eyeing a January 2024 restart for the project.[2]

Insurgency in Cabo Delgado Province

Since October 2017 there has been an ongoing conflict in Cabo Delgado Province, northern Mozambique, mainly fought between Islamist militants attempting to establish an Islamic state in the region, and Mozambican security forces. The government has also hired private paramilitary organisations from Russia, the United States, South Africa and France as its forces have struggled to defeat the insurgency which has resulted in the deaths of at least 1,100 people, predominantly among local communities, and the displacement of over 100,000 people. The growing militarisation of the area is, say government critics, prioritising the protection of the major gas infrastructure under development in the region at the expense of local communities. On April 7, 2020, journalist Ibrahimo Abu Mbaruco went missing after texting a colleague to say that soldiers were approaching him. The major gas operators have paid the Mozambican government to mobilise more armed forces to protect them.[22]

Although the LNG projects in the northeast corner of Cabo Delgado have so far avoided being directly attacked, the likelihood that they will be hit is increasing, and their presence is increasing tension in the conflict zone. Despite the Mozambican military presence to protect the gas projects, insurgents have launched three attacks within seven kilometres of what is now the Total camp on the Afungi peninsula, most recently in August 2019.[23] In a May 2020 report, the Norwegian development research organisation Chr. Michelson Institute described the deteriorating situation as being tantamount to no longer an insurgency but "a war". The report warned that the LNG projects in the region might “come to a halt due to attacks and high security overheads, and thus, operational costs or would at least become substantially reduced”.[24]

On the weekend of June 27, 2020, just days before the anticipated high profile finance signing ceremony for Mozambique LNG, Reuters reported a 'very violent' attack made by insurgents on the port town of Mocimboa da Praia, 40 miles south of the project. The town’s port is used for cargo deliveries to the gas developments. Reuters also noted that earlier this year aid agency Medicins Sans Frontieres halted its operations in Mocimboa da Praia, as well as in another town in the region, due to the security situation.[25]

In August 2020, a force of roughly 1,000 insurgents captured Mocimboa da Praia, interrupting the transit of oil and gas equipment through the port and resulting in the destruction of some local infrastructure. As a result there were growing concerns that development of the Mozambique LNG terminal project will be disrupted.[26] In the days following the town's capture, Total and the Mozambique government announced the signing of a security pact in order to "create a safe operating environment for partners like Total which enables their ongoing investment in Mozambican industry".[27]

At the end of 2020, Total was compelled to ask some members of its workforce to vacate the LNG project site as insurgents stepped up attacks in the near vicinity of the project by raiding a town less than five kilometers away.[28] On January 4, 2021, Bloomberg reported that the situation had escalated, with Mozambique’s security forces fighting off an attack by the insurgents in the village of Quitunda, less than one kilometer from the airstrip built by Total within the construction camp’s perimeter fence. According to Jasmine Opperman, Africa analyst at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, the escalating violence was a serious threat to the project, but Total wouldn't abandon it: "There might be a bit of a pause, a slowdown. A withdrawal, not likely. There is simply too much at stake for them."[29]

In March 2021, the security situation in Cabo Delgado province deteriorated further as insurgents seized control of the town of Palma and the Mozambique government confirmed that "dozens of people" had been killed in fighting. Total evacuated 1,000 workers by ship from near Palma, where it has a logistics hub adjacent to its proposed gas projects.[30] The company confirmed that the planned restarting of construction work on the LNG terminal had been postponed due to the security situation.[31]

In April 2021, Bloomberg reported that, due to the continuing severe security situation close to the project site, Total had started to terminate contracts with certain contractors and that small- and medium-sized business had already lost US$90 million since the attack by insurgents on Palma in March. The Eurasia Group, a company which monitors political risk for investor clients, speculated that Total's termination of contracts was an indication that the company won't restart work on the LNG facility for at least a year.[32]

Cost and Financing

Bloomberg reported in May 2017 that the Mozambique government's two rival LNG projects, Anadarko Eni Mozambique LNG Terminal and Italy based Eni Coral South FLNG Terminal agreed to a deal allowing them to develop independently, and share onshore liquefaction infrastructure. Bloomberg considers Curtis Island's three plants in Australia (Australia Pacific LNG Terminal, Gladstone LNG Terminal, Queensland Curtis LNG Terminal) as an example of having exorbitant infrastructure duplication that they could have saved $10 billion of extra cost on their combined $70 billion projects.[33]

In June 2019, the state institution Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation announced that it was providing US$1 billion in equity financing[34] and the Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co., which has a stake in the project, announced it will invest US$2.5 billion.[35]

In August 2019, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, the original project owner, gave formal approval for the construction of the facility, the largest LNG project approved in Africa. Low gas prices led to questioning whether the final investment decision (FID) would be delayed or cancelled, but Anadarko managed to gather enough long-term buyers to support the financing of the project.[36]

In September of 2019, the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the official export credit agency of the United States federal government, voted unanimously to authorize a direct loan of up to $5 billion to finance U.S. exports to the Mozambique LNG Project. The borrower is Mozambique LNG1 Financing Company Ltd., which is owned by a group of sponsors, formerly including Anadarko Petroleum Company that was acquired by Occidental Petroleum Corporation in 2019. Occidental is expected to sell the African assets acquired to the multinational oil and gas company, Total S.A. However, the U.S. content requirement of the contract supported by EXIM will continue to apply, and the related EXIM-supported goods and services to the project will be provided by the United States. The LNG to be exported by the Mozambique LNG project is targeted primarily to meet the demand of Asian markets.[37]

Occidental bought out Anadarko Petroleum's shares in 2019. Immediately following that buyout, Total S.A. bought out Occidental's shares of the project and now owns 26.5 percent of the project.[38]

In November 2019, it was announced that the project will get a $400 million loan from the African Development Bank (ADB), with the goal of establishing a fuel-export industry in Mozambique. In addition to the ADB, commercial banks, development finance institutions, and export credit agencies provide senior debt financing for the project. Mozambique is counting on the $23 billion development to revive its economy after struggling to service its debts.[38]

In May 2020, it was reported that the project had secured loan commitments totalling US$15 billion from export credit agencies and commercial banks which would be confirmed at an official signing in June 2020. Initial media reports named Rand Merchant Bank, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Société Générale as three participants in a banking consortium of approximately 20 commercial banks which are providing loans to the project. Mozambique state-owned newspaper Jornal Noticias also reported that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation will provide a US$3 billion loan.[39] At the same time, EXIM amended its September 2019 commitment of US$5 billion down to US$4.7 billion, and said that rather than financing only the onshore part of the project, approximately US$1.8 billion of the total financing would support the project’s offshore production.[40] Commenting on the finance deal, Douglas Mason of the Eunomix consultancy told Bloomberg: “Security risk for the project and country risk in general has definitely not been taken into account adequately. Mozambique is a fragile state with weak institutional capacity and multiple social and economic fault lines of conflict and instability -- the companies investing in the sector have not shown strong understanding of this.”[41] Ahead of the anticipated finance signing ceremony on June 30, it was reported that the Government of Mozambique has provided Mozambique LNG with a US$2.5 billion state guarantee in lieu of an immediate equity contribution from the state-run National Hydrocarbon Company.[42]

On July 17, 2020, Total confirmed that it had signed agreements with a range of international financial institutions for a total lending package of US$14.9 billion. Nineteen commercial banks are involved in the deal, though Total did not immediately disclose the names of the banks involved or the amounts which they provided. The publicly owned African Development Bank provided a loan and, according to Reuters, the project financing also includes direct and covered loans from eight export credit agencies (ECAs): UK Export Finance (UKEF), the Export Import Bank of the United States (U.S. Ex-Im), Italy’s SACE, the Netherlands’ Atradius, the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) of South Africa, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), and the Export-Import Bank of Thailand.[7] The Financial Times reported that U.S. Ex-Im had provided a US$5 billion loan for the project and that JBIC had provided a US$3 billion loan.[43] The Guardian reported that UKEF's financial contribution involves loans worth US$300m to British companies working on the project as well as the guaranteeing of loans from commercial banks worth up to US$850m. Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) are considering legal action against the UK government for using UK taxpayers' money to fund a project that would “have massive climate impacts”.[44]

The infrastructure finance publication Proximo published further details about the finance deal in August 2020.[45] The US$14.9 billion in project debt, with an 18 year tenor, is to be provided mainly by ECAs and development finance institutions:

  • US Exim Bank – US$4.7 billion loan
  • JBIC – US$3 billion loan
  • Thai Exim Bank – US$150 million loan
  • African Development Bank – US$400 million loan
  • NEXI – US$2 billion loan guarantee
  • UKEF – US$1 billion loan guarantee
  • SACE – US$950 million loan guarantee
  • ECIC – US$800 million loan guarantee
  • Atradius – US$640 million loan guarantee

Twenty-one other banks are taking part in the financing with a combined total of US$1.35 billion in uncovered debt. Proximo identified 18 of these banks and various loan amounts:

  • Afreximbank – US$400 million loan
  • Absa, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Crédit Agricole, DBSA – combined US$120 million loan
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, First National Bank, Mizuho, MUFG, Nedbank, Nippon Life, Shinsei Bank, Standard Chartered, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Standard Bank – combined US$485 million loan

The project financing was expected to reach financial close in the third quarter of 2020. Financial close occurred in March 2021.[46]

In April 2021, and following Total's temporary suspension of construction work due to the worsening security situation in the region, Total said that the project finance remains in effect and "Mozambique LNG has agreed with lenders to temporarily pause the debt drawdown."[1] IJGlobal reported that, due to Total's sudden declaration of force majeure in early April, there had been no time for the debt drawdown to begin.[46] Reacting to notification from Total that "it is currently unable to operate in the Afungi peninsula", US Exim Bank said in a statement (April 26): "EXIM staff is reviewing Total's announcement, and we will work with our fellow export credit agencies and lending partners to determine next steps in the coming weeks."[47]

In November 2023, over 100 environmental organizations including ActionAid International and Greenpeace France sent a letter to banks and other financiers of the Mozambique LNG Terminal project urging them to withdraw support, warning that the project could worsen climate change and human rights abuses in Mozambique.

Legal challenge to UK's funding support

In September 2020, Friends of the Earth in London confirmed that it was seeking a judicial review at the High Court of Justice into the UK government's decision to use taxpayer money via UK Export Finance (UKEF) to “worsen the climate emergency” by helping to finance the Mozambique LNG Terminal. Friends of the Earth allege that UKEF offered its largest single financial support package without undertaking a transparent assessment of the project's environmental and social risks, which is a legal requirement. A spokeswoman for UKEF told The Guardian that the agency had conducted a review of the project – including environmental, social and human rights impacts – which considered its impact on the climate, but UKEF declined to make the review public.[48] In April 2021, Friends of the Earth received permission from the UK's High Court of Justice to challenge the UK government decision to provide financial support for the project. A full court hearing is expected to take place later in 2021.[49]

In April 2021 it was revealed, following a Freedom of Information request made by Friends of the Earth United States, that US Exim Bank ignored the security risks associated with the Mozambique LNG project before deciding to provide US$4.7 billion in funding support. Exim's due diligence documentation noted before its funding decision that "Mozambique presents a rapidly evolving security dynamic with an equally challenging physical risk scenario ... the security environment is highly variable, security threats and risks to the project will evolve rapidly, and the situation is likely to worsen before it improves." These historic concerns surfaced in the media as the security situation in the region worsened dramatically following insurgent led violence at the end of March 2021 which forced Total to evacuate workers at the project site and further delay the start-up of construction work. Bloomberg reported that Exim remained committed to the project, quoting a spokesperson who said: "We will continue to assess this project to ensure that a reasonable assurance of repayment is maintained."[50]

The legal challenge to the British government raised by Friends of the Earth United States was set to be heard in high court in December 2021.[51]

Coronavirus Pandemic

As of April 2020, two-thirds of Mozambique’s 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are linked to the project, which has been put under quarantine. The pandemic may be another setback for the project, which is happening concurrently with an increase in the scale and frequency of attacks by Islamic State insurgents.[52]

Articles and resources


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Related articles

External resources

Gas In Mozambique, A Windfall for the Industry, A Curse for the Country: France Thrusts Mozambique into the Fossil Fuel Trap, Friends of the Earth France, Mozambique and International Report, June 2020

External articles